Lifescapes International

Meet our Director of Design, Andrew Kreft

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Andy is a 28-year design veteran. As Director of Design, he leads the design team in bringing a compelling sense of creativity to each and every project. Andy has deep expertise in conceptual and detail design and the skillfulness to convey it in and graphic and 3D presentations.

As a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s landscape architecture program, Andy truly believes in their motto “Learn by Doing.” He says, “Experiencing all that you can in life is a huge part of design,” and that is reflected in his unique and immersive designs and attention to detail.

His inspiration:
Andy draws inspiration from his surroundings, from the mundane to the exotic. “I never know what or where I might see something that influences my designs, from a large space, down to the detailing of the smallest element,” he notes. Traveling around the world, visiting art galleries, gardens and even the occasional music festival, like Coachella, are all important to him and offer endless inspiration that feeds his mental design bank. Andy also values getting to experience how people use a space first-hand; their reactions help him to learn what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t work. However, his most rewarding inspiration comes from getting to see people enjoy his completed projects. “Realizing that I am directly influencing their life and happiness through my designs is the greatest reward.”

Early career:
Andy developed his passion for landscape architecture through a childhood interest in architecture and from working at nurseries in college. Right after graduation, he dabbled in retail, through a side job at The Gap, but was quickly drawn into the project management and design track at Lifescapes. He really knew that this was the firm for him as one of his first projects was flying back and forth to Las Vegas all summer to create “as-built” drawings for the recently completed Mirage and work on the designs for the upcoming Dolphin Habitat. “I figured I was probably the only one in my class at Cal Poly that got to do something like that,” he said.

Where to find him when he’s not working:
When Andy is not working, he spends most of his time with his husband, John, travelling when they can, even if it is just for the day or the weekend. However, a good Netflix movie and dinner at home isn’t bad either, he adds! Squeezing in a trip with his brother’s family, especially time with his 3-½ year old nephew, is also a much anticipated highlight.

Something that will surprise you:
Andy has always loved design, toyed with being a cartoonist as a child and looked into switching to graphic design while in college. Thankfully, he turned his passion fully towards landscape architecture and was taken under founder Don Brinkerhoff’s wing early on at Lifescapes, where his desire for detail design was nurtured. While he still loves picking out hardscape details, stones and tiles, he has grown to thoroughly enjoy the overall conceptual design, because that is where you get to create “whole new worlds.”

Some of Andy’s favorite projects:
Working for clients that value landscape design has always meant a lot to Andy, and bringing their vision to life is especially meaningful.

Two such projects are Bellagio in Las Vegas and The Grove in Los Angeles, which will always hold special places in Andy’s heart. “Working on Bellagio was the first experience where I really got to oversee the overall design on a massive resort project,” he notes. From really understanding the art of laying out a dynamic resort pool area to breaking new ground through the designs for the original change-out gardens for the Bellagio’s Conservatory, Andy was able to both learn and create so much.

The Grove was really an equivalent experience, but in the realm of entertainment retail. “It truly set the bar, and continues to do so when it comes to how a wholly immersive garden experience can not only draw customers in, but entice them to stay. It has also driven The Grove to be one of the most productive malls in the country in sales per square foot,” Andy adds.

Andy was also equally inspired by more recent projects like Lifescapes’ reimagining of The Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach and the Westin Zhujiajian Resort south of Shanghai in China. “Not only were they both fun to work on but they really show that a garden does not have to be traditional or ‘themed.’ The design can be incredibly contemporary, yet still be lushly layered and inviting to the guest.”


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